The CW network is close to a deal with MSN to stream the first episodes of several of its prime-time series on the portal sometime between now and the start of the upcoming TV season, Mediaweek has learned.
While the agreement has not been signed and the list of shows is currently in flux, sources familiar with the negotiations say that returning series America’s Next Top Model, Everybody Hates Chris and Supernatural, along with the new drama Runaway are candidates to make their fall debuts on the Web, roughly one week prior to their various on-air premieres. Of the four shows, America’s Next Top Model has the earliest premiere date, as its seventh season is scheduled to begin on Sept. 20.
While this is the first Web streaming play to come from the newly formed CW network, several former WB and UPN series (which were merged to form CW) have previously employed this tactic. Last fall, the pilot episode of Everybody Hates Chris was streamed on Google’s home page before its first TV appearance, while Yahoo did the same for the first episode of Supernatural.